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tv   Washington Week With Gwen Ifill  PBS  October 19, 2013 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT

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gwen: government at its most dysfunctional, who's way, which highway? we examine the fallout from the tonight ondown "washington week." >> there's a deal and that deal america hope, but it doesn't get us out of the mess we're in. >> we have taken what little american public had in this institution and our institution of the united states shookss and once again it. gwen: the government reopens. >> welcome back, everybody. gwen: the debt ceiling is raised. some republicans and some democrats are actually talking one another. >> we're going to find the two -- the common ground between that we both can
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vote on and that's our goal. gwen: but has the latest crisis permanentlyton broken? >> let's be clear. there are no winners here. the media keeps asking, was it worth it? my answer is that it's always it to do the right thing. gwen: we look at the deal that global calamity and why withuld break down again chuck babington of the associated press, dan balz of the "washington post," jackie times,"f the "new york news.ff zeleny of abc >> award-winning reporting and as itis, covering history happens. capital, our nation's this is "washington week" with gwen ifill. fororate funding "washington week" is provided by -- went and asked people a simple question, how old is the known?person you've
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we gave people a sticker and had them show us. us haveed a lot of known someone who lived well into their 90's and that's a thing but even though we're living longer, one thing that hasn't changed, the official retirement age. the question is, how do you make sure you have the money you need to enjoy all of these years? additional corporate funding for "washington week" is by northrop grumman. additional funding is provided thehe annenberg foundation, corporation for public broadcasting, and by contributions to pbs stations like thank you. live from, washington, moderator gwen ifill. gwen: good evening. tempting to look at how october has unfolded in the think onlypital and of the personalities. spent facing off
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a partisan divide that and too wide to cross, our country came to the brink of disaster. >> this is far less than many of had hoped for, frankly, but it's far better than what some had sought. now it's time for republicans to other crucial goals. >> the answers are not going to from washington. washington is broken, but the to come fromoing the american people. >> that's not a surprise, that american people are completely fed up with washington. a moment when our economic recovery demands more jobs, more momentum, we've got yet another self-inflicted crisis that set economy back, and for what? gwen: for what, indeed. among the questions
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we'll be tackling tonight but first, the question so many itricans are asking, how did come to this. dan? i thought you'd know the answer to that one. well, i mean, it's been building for a long time, as we threend i think there are elements that came together in this particular moment. one is the growing polarization. we've talked about this repeatedly around this table, twosorting out of the parties. one farther apart from the other long time seen in a and we see that definitely in the house of representatives. vast difference, now, in how people view certain issues, how the two parties view certain issues. there is very little common ground on some of these big issues. ors either we're all for it we're all against it and the third, frankly, is the rise of party and the arrival of a faction of new members in the house of representatives who toe determined not simply slow down the direction of a country they think was going in direction, but to
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reverse it and to use extraordinary methods which they case to try to stop it and it led to the shutdown. dan's right. the thing i was struck by over and over the last -- i think it but this has been going on for a month. the debate started mid september wasi would always ask as i walking through the halls of congress, as the tea party republicans, is this worth it, making your case and i was struck by one thing i kept hearing. on healthcare, it seemed like this had been litigated. overarted out as a fight obamacare and the 2012 elections seemed to illittigate that but person these tea party republicans elected in the wave no, thesaid, no, no, 2012 election was not about healthcare. the only election that's been was 2010 andare that was a strong referendum against it so i looked -- some of these numbers of congress in eye. of idaho saidor
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this is a referendum on healthcare, we're sent here to do this and they thought it was worth it. even at the end of all this, they were saying it was worth it. that's what i was struck by because the establishment, mitch mcconnell said it wasn't worth disconnects's huge still. >> there's disconnects within the republican party, party.ects across the nancy pelosi was talking about what she sees as cynicism on the other side. let's listen. >> cynicism is about the fact that government was closed for 16 days, the full faith and doubt of america was in and why? because the anti-government i'd ideologue in the republican congress was the tail the gwen: was an underbelly revealed here or was this truly a deep underbelly of stubbornness? >> nancy pelosi talked about anti-government republicans and in truth a lot of house republicans are elected in republican primaries which are all that matter really in their
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districts by people who are very anti-government. gwen: they would agree with her. they and the thing that jeff was talking about, the big ofconnect -- i talk to a lot house republicans, as well, and we have been seeing all these polls lately. the republican party is taking a pounding, the republican party is getting clobbered. you talk to a lot of these relate tod they don't those polls at all because they're focused on their district which is for all the dan talked about, the sorting out and gerrymandering, are very, very red and these don't really -- gwen: i tell you who's reading the polls at the white house, the white house. >> oh, yeah and yet it's hard to see despite the president's out ofed leverage coming this, that really he has a way forward. out there,namic is as jeff alluded to, the really hard-line conservatives in the senate, the lesson they're taking from this is that they weren't conservative enough united enough to push their way, which doesn't that they're chastened
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at all and it's just -- i think the -- it's interesting because we talk a lot about re-districting. dan started out referring to polarization and that explains the house. you have these very well constructed districts where everyone's packed in with like minded voters and in this case very conservative ones. it doesn't explain the senate and we're seeing that change in the senate. who are we talking about? senator cruz. you had mike lee and both of them beat establishment to get to the senate so it's a combination of andistricting and big money activism on the far right. gwen: explain to me and explain to a lot of people who watch casually, how it is that the mainstream republicans to a said this is craziness, we shouldn't be doing this, and yet they weren't able it, where were mitch inonnell and john boehner all of this, being rolled? >> to some extent. there's a clear absence of
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leadership and in part it is because as we all know the risk presumably of the speakership or felt and acted as that we he were. if he didn't do these things -- i think a lot of people thought at the beginning he would try a of things to satisfy the hard-liners in his conference and then sort of say, well, bute fought the good fight we don't want to go all the way to a shutdown and in fact he let go well beyond that and wouldn't give in, and it then wills betweenof the two side and personal existed, that i think but the power of the outside forces that now dominate a lot of politics -- in this case, heritage action, the club for conservative fund -- these are groups which hold considerable sway in these and even -- they can in senate primaries, and it has intimidated, i think, a lot of republicans. gwen: john boehner only gave one cincinnati radio
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station after the vote went down the other night and let's listen said.t he >> we have been locked in a fight over here trying to bring government down to size, trying do our best to stop obamacare. we fought the good fight. didn't win. gwen: he did not sound in in a wasrview like a guy who swept along by other forces. leadinged like he was the charge. >> following the charge, i think. how do we know that? we saw him at several points where, a, he said the government would not shut down, b, he signaled this was not his strategy, he was trying to bring them along, but at the same time he does emerge from whole process with the support of all or certainly most the republican conference. gwen: but they won't follow anywhere he leads. that's, they won't and some of the disconnect here but i think he is still -- for all the, you know, john boehner definitely did not win the week. he's the biggest losers in
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the week, i don't think so. house iple at the white talked to today and throughout the week said john boehner is not the perfect speaker but he speaker for this time. this is not a speaker boehner problem in and of itself. to stopif he tried things earlier, he would have gotten rolled and then what happened? there would have been a huge leadership vacuum and change, explosion, perhaps, and that might have made things worse so i think that he's dealing with here.nd he's dealt to be toont to sympathetic but he's dealing with the group in front of him. the group were led there by some in the chamber, cruz, freshman texas senator, who signaled this week he's not going anywhere. let's listen. and this fight, this debate, until collectively the american people can make d.c. listen, can get real relief for all of the people who were
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hurt because of obamacare. that is he the best thing ever happened to the white house, especially when it comes to obamacare? least in the -- in memory. he is just amazing. when he talks about the people, people, and the face of all these polls that have been done in the past month and it just makes you wonder which people is he talking about? besort of know, you want to a little bit cynical, he's built his mailing list and his donor far right, and, you know, there's most thinking this is not a man who's going to run for re-election for the senate. he's going to run for president nomination.blican gwen: he's just the face of it. there were more republicans the government closed than open the other day. gwen,s not just ted cruz, but a lot of these house members. when they go home and rail against obamacare, they get thunderous applause and campaign contributions. it is not a bad political issue for them. is, a lot of the
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critics say they don't know how to legislate. the question is, are they really to legislate or are they trying to make a point and you to raisehey're trying money and move ahead in their campaign and you can also say, you had mike lee in the lead-in it's the right thing to do, to stand -- and probably all of point or another said i'm proud i stood up for a principal but when you apply a legislative context, it's problematic. this dan, you wrote provides perhaps a pivot point, perhaps a cover for a healthcare verythat didn't roll out smoothly but certainly an opportunity for the white house. >> it is an opportunity for the white house but a tricky opportunity for the white house. what i wrote and said was, yesterday was like a third inauguration day for president obama. it's unusual for a president to be able to reboot in the middle a term and yet this moment -- cataclysmic that
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it creates an opportunity. the question is -- there may be nothing the president can do. there is enough opposition on the right in the republican party that they will frustrate almost any effort at compromise. i think the question is, can the be successful in a strategy in which he splits off enough of the establishment republicans from the tea party and will he do things in terms of negotiations and ideas that he's prepared to put forward easier or harder for them to come to him rather than stick with the tea party. gwen: and the three things he's talking about are budget immigration and the farm bill. are these winnable battles? immigrationn reform, it's really hard to say. he is not likely to give republicans too much because what is the biggest thing in 2014 -- boy, democrats sure want control of that senate. if they don't, the rest of his changes just
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tremendously so i think dan's right. he does have another opportunity here but it's a tricky opportunity. more interestingly, i think, what are those republicans doing. republicansroup of in the house who think boy, this was a bad way to conduct business? caucus.r king he's been out there since the very beginning, republican sayingsman of new york we cannot be led down the ted cruz valley of death. had many people behind him. we'll see if that group grows. people are afraid of primary challenges. the primary filing deadlines for house members are not until next year. afraid of that. >> there are not enough moderates in the house for that to hold. gwen: whatever moderate even means. that.'t call them >> you talk about whether this could be a reset for the president. situation a similar in the mid 90's where it was a reset for president bill clinton 1994 when theinto republicans took over congress and then immediately after, he thann a much worse shape
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even president obama is. but there was a difference. once he, you know, went yukiya head-to-head with the republicans over a shutdown and a republicanacing party in which about 1/3 or more of the house republicans were had won.ricts that he there are very few -- somebody here might know. >> 17. i knew it was under 20. >> 7%. you, and that just tells and charlie said, when they go back to their districts, it's centristsre's no telling them they ought to be compromising with president obama. did come outsident and talk yesterday, state dining he thinks liest ahead. >> right now there are folks another side who think my are misguided. that's putting it mildly. that's ok. that's democracy. that's how it works.
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we shouldn't fail to act on areas that we do agree or could we don'tt because think it's good politics, just because the extremes in our don't like the word "compromise." gwen: the president has a talent for coming out kind of swinging but not sounding like he's swinging until you think about later and it sounds like he could have been much more conciliatory if he wanted to be but he's decided not to be. >> i think that's true, gwen, and i think the president and team kind of got fed up and onsaw them stay much tougher this debt ceiling situation than they did two years ago. they felt like they learned their lesson two years ago, they tried to negotiate, the republicans would not move when he said, the never again on this. now we've gotten past this. it's probably unlikely the for ancans will look exact repeat of this in january or february. you mentioned immigration, a issue. it's going to be very, very tough. john boehner finally got this
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bill across the finish line the the fiscal cliff bill, that is with a minority of the republicans. it's going to be tough for him can't see him i doing that on immigration. there are so many republicans is, back home immigration unpopular among their primary voters. gwen: so is the white house -- democrats -- harry reid is an interesting figure in all tothis -- is there a plan dare these guys who walk off the cliff again and hope they get of victory? >> i think we're going to have house senatehe new budget conference comes up with first. i think there's going to be this sort of his -- reminds me of the super committee of october and november of 2011, and that came to nothing. can --u know, if that they've lowered their sights, a grandno more talk of bargain. if they can just come together on a limited package that will instance,
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sequestration, these automatic across-the-board cuts. have towhat's next, we know what this committee comes out with and they have to report december 15, in time -- december 13, in time for final action by congress on january 15 so that the government does not shut down again. gwen: which everybody has sworn to happen.g >> well, not everybody. >> i think that's really thosesting, when you ask people, was this worth it, some very different answers. ted cruz says, yes, it was worth it, he would do it again. not mitch mcconnell, he said there's no education like the second kick of a mule. he thinks first one was 1996. >> can i say something about mitch mcconnell. we've gone this whole year and saying mitch mcconnell was sidelined because he's up for a teaction, worried about party foe. he got a tea party foe. the tea party has endorsed his he'sy, in some ways, liberated. the general to
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election and welcoming the opportunity to look like he's who's bipartisan and gets things done. gwen: it's important to remember the red line in this case never down. shut in the end it was about the threat of the debt ceiling. that's what pushed everybody out has also been kicked -- i hate to use the term, i'm not going to use it. it's been delayed. i'm not going to say the can phrase. how about that? what about a potential for that? i think jackie's right. we'll get a sense in these budget negotiations. that's the real test of what the effect of these last weeks has been. when you think about what we have been through for the last all it hasx weeks, been about is process. i know that the idea was to but that was ae losing strategy from the start. everything has been aimed at let's get government reopened and the debt ceiling gete pushed so we can then to substance and we keep putting off the substance. gwen: is that part of the reason every poll shows this
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exasperation on the american people? >> i think that's part of the confusion here. defunding obamacare was a hopeless cause if you really you'd get him to defund obamacare. so a lot of what was going on up different things -- fire your base, perhaps set off a for president and that's what's frustrating and also confusing the american people because we're really talking about two different things. gwen: ideologies for process. crusaders versus legislators. >> it has shown the energy in the republican party still on one side which we knew but going into a midterm frighteningr it's a proposition, any republican afraid of a primary challenge. gwen: thank you, everybody. before we go don't, we wanted to take a few minutes to passing of the
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former house speaker, tom foley, for 30ed in washington years until he was defeated in the republican house sweep of 1994. many of us at the table covered tom foley during that time. what kind of leader was he, jackie? >> he wasn't the best speaker. but he was a great member and he was truly well respected, as you're seeing in the tributes to him tonight. we call a man of the house, a true institutionalist who put the house above party, really. he -- when he was speaker, he meet weekly with the republican leader, bob michael would alternate offices, one week in the speaker's office, one week in the republican leader's office. they had huge fights but they also got along. they didn't surprise each other. he was a man of his times. he was a liberal. landslidected on the of 1964 and kicked out on the republican landslide of 1994. he brought to the job this great
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society liberalism on domestic but the sort of centrist-to-conservative policyt on the foreign defense things like his mentor, scoop jackson. if i could say one thing that puts it in the report. was the agriculture committee chairman at one point and he dole, bipartisan, devised the farm bill, a of farm subsidies for the rural people and nutrition programs and food theps for the cities and poor. gwen: can anybody imagine that sort of figure being able to flourish in the current environment? >> very, very difficult today. gwen: really. just -- you know, the way things used to work don't work today because of the changes in the politics that we have and the that we seemosity from one side to the other which, again, we saw in this fight. it just kept spilling out and so deals whent make
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their backs are against the wall or as mitch mcconnell said, when line and the 2-yard have to try to punt which is the way he felt he was in the final negotiations. gwen: was tom foley a investment of -- victim of that very thing? yes, he was, he was a victim of the gingrich revolution in figure. a fascinating i met him when i first came to washington. was covering agriculture for national journal and i went up to interview him and he gave me a lot of time and taught me a lot. he was very patient. it andvery little about he was always that way throughout his career. gwen: thank you all very much for that memory of tom foley. you can hear more about him in own words in our "washington week" webcast extra which 8:30 at eastern and all weekend long at thursday atnext noon, "washington week" regular peter baker of the "new york times" joins me for my monthly to talk about his excellent
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new book, "days of fire: bush and cheney in the white house." up witheantime, keep daily developments, now seven days a week, on the pbs news hour and we'll see you next week on "washington week." good night. captioned by the national captioning institute
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>> corporate funding for "washington week" is provided by -- >> at northrop grumman we've toays been committed innovation. when the world called for speed, for the world called knowledge, awareness, innovation. and when the world asked for the future. ahead in a constantly evolving world. that's the value of performance. northrop grumman. >> additional corporate funding for "washington week" is by prudential. additional funding is provided the annenberg foundation, the corporation for public broadcasting and by pbs stations to from viewers like you. thank you.
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